Jeromy's Web Series Review: MORTAL KOMBAT: LEGACY Episode 4
Published: May 3, 2011 - 9:06pm
The rollercoaster ride continues with Mortal Kombat: Legacy’s 4th episode titled, Kitana & Mileena (Part 1). For the first time in the series we move away from Earth in order to witness the fall of the realm of Edenia and the birth of two favorite characters.
As the title would indicate we are introduced to Princess Kitana and "sister" Mileena but also (appropriately) Queen Sindel and Baraka. As an origin story for several important characters, it does its job well enough but doesn’t quite have the jaw-dropping coolness or originality of the last episode’s introduction of Johnny Cage. Perhaps because Johnny was a character begging for depth whereas our Edenian characters just are what they are.
As interesting as it may be to see Kitana, Mileena and Sindel’s origin -- as well as appearances by Shao Kahn and Baraka -- the episode is done a great disservice by being told almost entirely by narration. In this fashion, it would have served the story better by being placed before Episode 1 as a preamble; but four episodes into the series it only slows down its own momentum.
The episode is part live-action part animation, which is a curious choice. The episode itself is a flashback with flashbacks and the animated segments are thrown it at random with no rhyme or reason. It’s easy to rationalize this away by saying it’s a web series and therefore it must have been done for financial reasons. What’s curious about it is that aside from one or two establishing shots, they didn’t animate scenes that would have been particularly technical or expensive to shoot. They almost all take place in the same location as the live action scenes and most of the actors were already there. Creating the animation had to take longer than it would have to shoot live. Whether a financial decision or a stylistic choice, the episode lacked heart and they could have developed it much better.
One can’t really speak to the acting since none of the actors are allowed to do much of it. If anything can be said it’s that Shao Kahn doesn’t seem particularly menacing as of yet and Shang Tsung continues to only be teased but all things in due time.
Also, while his true origins have thankfully been restored, I’m not quite sure about Baraka’s design. It’s unrealistic to expect the makeup artists to put a spike-toothed, 8-inch prosthetic muzzle on the actor so they went with a design more akin to an Orc from Lord of the Rings. This works to an extent but when I see at him I can’t help but think he looks more like a pissed off Yogurt from Spaceballs.
To date, episode 4 is my least favorite as I don’t feel like it was conceptualized well. Episode 2’s only real faults were pacing and repetition; this episode drops the ball for more serious reasons. That’s definitely not meant to serve as an indictment of the series as a whole because I really do count the days till each new episode airs. My intention is to merely point out that there is a pattern developing, and the up and down trend regarding quality seems odd. It’s like watching Randy Moss make the highlight reel with one play and then taking the next play off. The good news is that next week’s episode will probably blow me away and, to bring it back to my original "roller coaster" analogy -- some are better than others but they’re ALL a whole lot of fun!